by Julie Kelly
For five years, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) insisted, without evidence, that the Russians helped Donald Trump win the White House in 2016. Schiff, along with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), first seeded the collusion narrative in July 2016—the same month James Comey’s FBI launched Crossfire Hurricane—by falsely claiming Kremlin hackers confiscated thousands of emails off the Democratic National Committee’s server, correspondence damaging to Hillary Clinton.
From that point forward, Schiff leveraged his political power and newfound cable news stardom to perpetuate the lie that the 2016 presidential election was illegitimate.
So it’s beyond ironic that Schiff now sits on the January 6 select committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s latest weapon to annihilate TrumpWorld. After spending every waking minute during Trump’s presidency to conduct what author Lee Smith called The Permanent Coup, Schiff is flipping his coup-plotting script on anyone who questions the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s presidency.
What’s even more ironic is Schiff and the January 6 committee members now accuse Trump’s former Justice Department officials of attempting to “overturn the results” of the 2020 presidential election. After all, no other government organization aided Schiff more in his bug-eyed crusade to take down Donald Trump than the U.S. Department of Justice. (Comey, it’s helpful to recall, bolstered Schiff’s now-debunked accusation that the Russians hacked the DNC email system.)
Crossfire Hurricane—which involved FBI informants, a garbage “dossier” sourced by a DNC/Clinton campaign operative, and illicit FISA warrants authorized by top Justice Department officials—morphed into Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, a two-year legal and political rampage that failed to unearth evidence of collusion but did plenty of damage to innocent people in the interim.
A cast of partisan characters—James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates, Bruce Ohr, Rod Rosenstein, Kevin Clinesmith, to name just a few—held over from Obama’s Justice Department animated the nonstop siege against Trump and anyone in his orbit.
Even after Trump appointed William Barr attorney general in the spring of 2019, the department continued to play political games. Barr announced in October 2020 that a report from John Durham, the U.S. attorney investigating the corrupt origins of Crossfire Hurricane, would not be released before Election Day.
A federal prosecutor in Delaware halted his office’s investigation into Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings and possible tax fraud until after the election. “The probe had reached a point where prosecutors could have sought search warrants and issued a flurry of grand jury subpoenas,” Politico reported in July 2021. “Some officials involved in the case wanted to do just that. Others urged caution.” David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Biden’s home state, “decided to wait, averting the possibility that the investigation would become a months-longcampaign issue.”
But perhaps no decision by the Justice Department inflicted more sustained damage to the American electorate than Barr’s announcement on December 1 that he had found no evidence of widespread voting fraud in the 2020 election. Rather than go directly to the president, Barr leaked the bombshell to the Associated Press, informing reporter Michael Balsamo that he “had not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” quite the legal standard for a man who at one time prided himself as a stickler for the rule of law and the Constitution.
Barr resigned effective December 23.
After his departure, according to a new report by the Democratic majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee, one Justice Department official attempted to “overturn” the results of the 2020 presidential election at Trump’s behest. The report, “Subverting Justice: How the Former President and His Allies Pressured DOJ to Overturn the 2020 Election,” weaves a tale of attempted election subversion in the waning weeks of Trump’s presidency.
“DOJ’s legitimacy and effectiveness depends on the public’s confidence that its administration and enforcement of federal laws is done impartially, free from actual or perceived partisan or political influence,” Democrats on the committee wrote, presumably with a straight face.
The villain this time around, Democrats claim, is Jeffrey Clark, Trump’s acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil division. Clark, by all accounts, was the only man in the department willing to confront provable election illegalities in states that flipped from Trump to Joe Biden in 2020.
The January 6 committee has subpoenaed Clark to testify this Friday. “There is credible evidence that, while serving as an official at the Department of Justice, Mr. Clark was involved in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote.
In December, President Trump, according to testimony and documents, made a series of calls to Justice Department officials, including Barr’s replacement, Jeffrey Rosen.
Trump and Clark also met in person; in a December 28 email to Rosen, Clark attached a draft letter to Georgia officials that would be replicated for each disputed state, notifying the governor and legislative leaders that the Justice Department had “taken notice of irregularities” in the 2020 election. The Justice Department, per the draft letter, would recommend convening “a special session so . . . legislators are in a position to take additional testimony, receive new evidence, and deliberate on the matter consistent with duties under the U.S. Constitution.”
Rosen, Barr’s handpicked deputy, rejected the idea. Trump reportedly considered replacing Rosen with Clark, which prompted Rosen and several other high-ranking Justice Department officials to threaten to resign. During an Oval Office meeting with Trump’s lawyers, Rosen again warned of “mass resignations” if Clark was installed as acting attorney general. Trump backed off; the letter was never sent.
As the latest bogeyman, Clark has been in the media meat grinder for nine months; the New York Times described Clark as “notorious” in a January 2021 hit piece, claiming he operated under a swoon of “conspiracy theories” about election fraud. Major news outlets portray Clark as a zealot and a coup-plotter. “Who Is Jeffrey Clark, and How Did He Try to Destroy Democracy?” the New Republic asked.
One can argue the legal appropriateness of what happened in Trump’s Justice Department as time was running out to address evidence of fraud in the 2020 election. What is inarguable is that Trump’s predecessor and his hyper-partisan henchmen in charge of the Justice Department are responsible for the flagrant politicization of that institution.
For years, the Justice Department acted in what former Attorney General Eric Holder boasted was a “wingman” position for the Democratic Party. And despite the way this powerful agency has been weaponized against Trump (and now his supporters), using government tools once reserved for foreign terrorists, no one has been held criminally responsible.
That’s why it’s laughable for Schiff and Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to suddenly insist “law enforcement must be free from political interference.” To this day, as Attorney General Merrick Garland admitted in his testimony last week, the Justice Department continues to take its cues from Democratic Party interests such as the education lobby. The FBI, as recently as last year, interfered in Michigan’s election by concocting a plot to “kidnap” Governor Gretchen Whitmer while voting was underway; a growing body of evidence suggests the FBI was involved in January 6 as well.
Americans want, and expect, the Justice Department to operate free of political influence. But it is Democrats, not Trump or people like Jeffrey Clark, who torched the department’s credibility.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. She is the co-host of ‘Happy Hour podcast with Julie and Liz.’ She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
Photo “U.S. Department of Justice headquarters” CC BY-SA 3.0.